"Back to basics." "Tightening the belt." These are two phrases that the city of Bloomington leaders have proposed as their solution to bring Bloomington out of its current economic situation. However, their actions tell a different story.
Recently, Bloomington city leaders voted to double garbage fees, raise the use tax, and fire dozens of city employees because, as Mayor Stockton stated, "The city doesn't have time to find spending cuts."
At the April 27 council meeting, Bloomington taxpayers witnessed another example of the city's misaligned priorities. On the agenda was a proposal to spend $624,000 to extend the Constitution Trail ¾ of a mile. While an extension would be nice, it brings to question if the trail, which currently extends roughly 24 miles throughout Bloomington and Normal, really needs another ¾ mile added, considering the economic times and the other needs of the city.
The Council contends that it was the right thing to do because if they spend $624,000 the federal government would give them $1 million towards the project.
Bloomington finances are so poor that it is improbable that the city can afford any road resurfacing this year, the sewer fund is millions of dollars in the red, our emergency fund has been depleted, dozens of employees are fired and the city is $5 million in debt.
How many jobs could $624,000 have saved? How many potholes could $624,000 have filled?